Benefits of Quitting

Even as soon as 20 minutes after a smoker smokes their last cigarette, their body begins the healing process.

  • At 20 minutes after quitting:
    • Blood pressure decreases
    • Pulse rate drops
    • Body temperature of hands and feet increases
  • At 8 hours:
    • Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
    • Oxygen level in blood increases to normal
  • At 24 hours:
    • Chance of a heart attack decreases
  • At 48 hours:
    • Nerve endings start to regrow
    • Ability to smell and taste is enhanced

The First Year after Quitting

  • At 2 weeks to 3 months:
    • Circulation improves
    • Walking becomes easier
    • Lung function increases
  • 1 to 9 months:
    • Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath decreases
  • 1 year:
    • Excess risk of coronary heart disease is decreased to half that of a smoker

Long-term Benefits

  • At 5 years:
    • From 5 to 15 years after quitting, stroke risk is reduced to that of people who have never smoked.
  • At 10 years:
    • Risk of lung cancer drops to as little as one-half that of continuing smokers
    • Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases
    • Risk of ulcer decreases
  • At 15 years:
    • Risk of coronary heart disease is now similar to that of people who have never smoked
    • Risk of death returns to nearly the level of people who have never smoked

Other Benefits of Quitting

  • Smoking is EXPENSIVE. It might be helpful to remind your clients that their wallet will thank them for quitting.
  • No odor of smoke in their clothes and hair
  • A healthy example for children and grandchildren
  • A more sensitive sense of smell
  • A better sense of taste
  • Healthier family members, particularly children and grandchildren

Good News: It is NEVER TOO LATE to STOP!
A smoker who quits smoking is likely to add years to their life, breathe more easily, and have more energy.


  • American Cancer Society; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • American Cancer Society. Guide to Quitting Smoking. Retrieved August, 2007 

Back to Cessation

back to top